I first heard about Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth from a friend at church. We were on a break between worship sets and she talked about the book for nearly a half an hour. Her description of the author made me so intrigued that I knew it was going on my must read list.
The author runs a vegetarian “farm” in Tennessee where women and families come to have their babies. She has some of the best statistics when it comes to childbirth in the US. She attends birth after birth using her knowledge and minimal equipment and medical interventions.
The first half of the book is filled with positive birth stories. Women love to share thei birth horror stories with expecting mamas, so it was a relief to read empowering stories about childbirth. Some of the stories had strong hippy vibes, but all of them were uplifting and empowering.
The second section of the book is broken into chapters. It’s full of great tips for having a quick, pleasant birth. All of the advice was backed up with anecdotes by May or historical tales of midwives and the births they attended. There are tons of statistics showing how the midwifery model of care is less invasive, and gentler on the mother and child than the techno-medical model.
I found myself making lots of highlights as I read. There were so many things I wanted to remember for my own homebirth. Her practice focuses on using historically proven techniques that have been successful all over the world, instead of following the latest technological advances and using the newest medications for convenience. She is, however, fully aware of news in the medical community and supplies information on all of the prenatal tests that are offered in prenatal care and on standard practices in most hospitals and birthing centers.
I’ve always been excited to give birth, but after reading this book, I’m even more excited. I’ve always thought it was going to be a powerful, transformative experience, but now armed with the knowledge of this book I’m really looking forward to it. It’s such an empowering book, constantly reassuring women how capable they and their bodies are. I definitely recommend it to anyone expecting, especially for the first time.